We Talk He-Man With Rob David

Rob David is a relative newcomer to comics but not to He-Man.  He has been familiar with the characters since they were a favorite of his as a child, and he has carried that interest over into a full-time job developing He-Man across various mediums.  We got a chance to talk with him about the direction for the series, the Eternity War, and first kisses.

heman05Graphic Policy:  How did you get the chance to work on this title?

Rob David:  I’m Head Writer and Lead Creative on “Masters of the Universe,” for Playground Productions, Mattel’s new Entertainment Studio, led by Dave Voss.  Mattel recruited me to write, develop and supervise new stories for He-Man across the entertainment spectrum — film, television, and in this case, comics!

Working with DC on these books has been extremely rewarding, not just because I’m a big fan of comics, but because the guys at DC Entertainment are incredibly talented, dedicated and great partners.

GP:  Were you a fan of the characters as a child?

RD:  Big fan. For me it started with the original mini-comics that came with the first figures. Just crazy stuff going on in those books. A wild mash-up of sci-fi and fantasy; wizards and robots and skull-faced warlords. And at the center of it all was this relatable barbarian with a magic sword just trying to do right in the world. I got sucked in.

GP:  The last story arc saw the reintroduction of She-Ra.  Are there any more forgotten fan favourites on the way?

heman02RD:  Oh yeah, She-Ra was just the beginning!

GP:  He-Man has traditionally been aimed at a younger readership, but the new series has story arcs that are definitely not just for kids.  How do you find the balance between the history of the characters versus what you want to write?

RD:  I try to remember that He-Man and Skeletor are icons. There’s a reason they’ve been around for thirty years. You have to respect the core concepts no matter what. Otherwise, why not just write something new?

But at the same time, we can’t stay stuck in the past. He-Man has to be able to surprise us. So I’m always looking for ways to recapture that feeling we had as kids, when we first met the characters and didn’t know what to expect. Make the story relevant to kids, adults, everybody, today — and not just nostalgic.

With the new comics, the readership is older, they’re mostly adult fans who grew up with He-Man. So it’s fun to take a more hard-hitting look at the mythos. Push the stakes, drama and characterization. The universe of Masters has always been rich; with these new comics we’ve really been able to dive in deep.

heman03GP:  In the most recent issue, young Prince Adam and Teela are shown sharing their first kiss.  Is the dynamic between these two important to the series?

RD: Yeah, to the series and the whole franchise! Adam and Teela grew up together. They’re not just love interests, they’re best friends, soul mates. Their bond is at the heart of the whole story.

That first kiss is a real marker in time for Adam, too. Soon after, he’d face off against Skeletor and Hordak and endless wars. But that first kiss is a moment of innocence and optimism that he’s really been fighting to protect and preserve all his life.

GP:  He-Man has traditionally fought against a select group of foes who have not changed much in their character’s past, but the most recent issue shows the introduction of a new threat.  Do you think expanding the character’s enemies is important?

RD:  Critically! A hero is only as great as his villain! You have to throw new enemies into the mix all the time and dial up the threat level of the classic foes. When it comes to He-Man, the past is never finished with him, and the future is full of grisly surprises.

heman04GP:  What should we expect to see in store for He-Man and his allies in coming months?

RD:  Coming up this Christmas is the launch of the brand new maxi-series, “He-Man: the Eternity War,” which I developed and Dan Abnett, co-creator of Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” is scripting.

This is the big one. The ultimate battle for the Power of Grayskull. It’s a massive, cross-over event for “Masters of the Universe.” All the different clans and empires face off. The Horde, the evil forces of Skeletor, the Masters of the Universe, the Snake Men and more.

The scale of the “Eternity War” is just massive. You’ll see just how powerful Castle Grayskull is, and why it must be kept out of enemy hands at all costs.

It’s also an emotional journey for Adam, Adora, Teela — and even, in the end, Skeletor himself.

Pop Mhan and Mark Roberts are the artists on the book, penciler and colorist, and they’re giving the series a dynamic IMAX feel.

Everybody at DC Comics and Playground Productions really hope you like “He-Man: the Eternity War.” Let us know what you think!

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